Moving can be stressful, but planning for the big day can help set your mind at ease. Here is a timeline and checklist for moving to help make the experience easier.

Two Months Before You Move: 

  • Take inventory of your possessions. The first item on any moving checklist is to make a list of all your belongings. This can be useful when deciding how many boxes you need, how big a truck you should rent and how to estimate your moving costs. It may also come in handy for insurance purposes if items are lost or broken during the move.
  • Find the right movers for the job. Not into heavy lifting? Now’s the time to hire a company that fits your needs and budget. Get at least three estimates before you choose your mover, and make sure companies are licensed, insured and bonded in case something breaks. For extra peace of mind, you may want to consider moving insurance.
    • Terms to know: “Licensed” refers to a moving company’s business license. “Bonded” means the movers are obligated to carry out their contract. “Insured” refers to the company’s insurance policy, though levels of coverage can vary.
  • Order moving supplies. For cross-country moves, it may be worth it to invest in durable boxes that can survive the trip. If you have a local move, used boxes can do just fine. Get them for free at many grocery stores, pharmacies and online sites such as Craigslist.
  • Track your spending. Moving costs can add up quickly, so it’s important to set a moving budget in advance and monitor what you spend.

Month Before You Move: 

  • Prepare to forward your mail. Pick a date to start forwarding your mail. But be sure to pay any bills in advance so you won’t be caught short if they happen to arrive after you leave. It may also be a good idea to sign up for paperless billing or to set up automatic payments for recurring bills.
  • Schedule a time to power down. Make sure to disconnect or transfer your utilities and connect the new ones. Otherwise, residents who move in after you may live on your dime. Keep a record of all your cancellation notices, just in case.

Couple of Weeks Before You Move: 

  • Update your mailing address. To help avoid any missed communications, make sure you change your address with the United States Postal Service as well as with your credit card, insurance companies and bank so you get timely service alerts and information. 
    • Tip: If you’re heading out of state, make sure your bank has a branch in your new location and move your accounts there. If not, consider switching banks so you have a local branch.
  • Eat yourself out of house and home. Wasting food means wasting money, so plan creative meals around what you have in your fridge and freezer.
  • Pack early and smart. Got a space you barely use? Designate it the packing room and store all your boxes there. Use your inventory to note how and where you’ve packed your belongings. Label each box with a marker or color-coded sticker to distinguish which box belongs where.
  • Confirm, confirm, confirm. Sometimes things fall through the cracks. Add your mover’s contact info, pickup and destination times to your moving checklist so you have all your info in one spot, and include any estimates for potential additional costs in case more labor is required.

Moving Day: 

  • Prep your new home. Before the moving truck arrives at your new home, mark doors or areas with stickers that correspond to your packing boxes. Try to unpack by room and avoid putting any boxes in your basement or attic. If you can’t see them, they may never be unpacked.
  • Do a walk-through of both homes. At the new house, use your moving checklist to make sure you have all your boxes and other belongings before the movers leave. At the old house, make sure the water and lights are off, the doors are locked, and all your closets and drawers are empty.
  • Now that you have a new home, make sure you stay on track and never miss a payment. If you’re an owner, you can automate your mortgage payment with your lender. If you rent, you may be able to schedule regular payments or at least set a monthly reminder for yourself.

Then enjoy a deep sigh of relief. You’ve done it!